David Suzuki notes “In railing against everything from bike lanes to transit spending, pundits and politicians often raise the spectre of a “war on cars.” Of course, there is no war on cars — but there should be.”
I am not a 100% supporter of Suzuki’s. I think his take on Fukushima was terribly irresponsible. (In his defense, he regrets it.) But here, he makes a compelling case:
Even with today’s improved fuel standards, only about 15 per cent of the energy from each litre of fuel burned is used to move the vehicle, which typically weighs 10 to 20 times more than the passenger(s) it carries. That translates to about a one per cent efficiency to move those passengers.
Although we can’t stop using cars altogether, we can curtail their damage to people and the environment. We can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting back on car use, choosing fuel-efficient vehicles, joining a car pool or sharing program and reducing speed. At the policy level, we need increased investment in public transit and cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, stronger fuel-efficiency standards, reduced speed limits, higher gas taxes and human-centric urban design.
Besides combatting pollution and climate change, reduced dependency on private automobiles will lead to healthier people, fewer deaths and injuries and livable cities with happier citizens. And that’s worth fighting for!